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Cypress Hill-Simpsons Collab: A Sad Effort to Recapture 90s TV Glory

Cypress Hill-Simpsons Collab: A Sad Effort to Recapture 90s TV Glory

When someone says they’re a fan of The Simpsons, they typically mean they love the show during its golden years, roughly from 1991 to 1997—and maybe extending to 1998. During this period, The Simpsons mastered the animated sitcom genre and became legendary television.

True fans often lament that the show was metaphorically "cancelled" after that golden era, sparing it from becoming a shadow of its former self by attempting to stay relevant with more modern references like iPads and Lady Gaga. Instead, they remember it fondly through the lens of nostalgia.

Accusations of Simpsons fans being stuck in the past are common, and perhaps justifiable. After all, that past was significantly more entertaining, especially compared to the more recent, less beloved episodes. This nostalgia was recently reignited when news broke that the hip-hop group Cypress Hill plans to collaborate with the London Symphony Orchestra. The announcement excited fans as it references a joke from a 1996 episode of the show.

For those unfamiliar, this collaboration relates to the season seven episode "Homerpalooza," where the Simpson family attends a music festival, encountering several celebrity acts like Sonic Youth and the Smashing Pumpkins. During the episode, a humorous moment arises when a crew member asks if anyone ordered the London Symphony Orchestra "possibly while high." The group eventually decides it must have been them, leading the orchestra to play Cypress Hill’s hit "Insane in the Membrane," to Marge’s approval.

This already funny episode gets even funnier when later, a furious Peter Frampton reveals that the orchestra was actually supposed to perform with him. In an interesting twist, Frampton has been invited to participate in this real-life concert, though he has yet to confirm his involvement.

Drawing from personal experience, I get it—nostalgia is powerful. I’m on my fifth rewatch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and competing in an eBay bidding war for a classic Goosebumps hoodie. I miss the early 2000s era when BBC aired a triple feature of Fresh Prince, Star Trek, and The Simpsons as much as the next millennial without kids.

But while this Cypress Hill collaboration sounds cool, it also highlights that our collective nostalgia for The Simpsons may have gone too far. Think about it: renting a concert hall, assembling 60 of the world’s top classical musicians, and rehearsing for weeks to reference a brief joke from a TV episode that aired before some of the orchestra’s members were even born.

It’s not even the best joke in that episode. That honor goes to Billy Corgan introducing himself to Homer as "Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins," to which Homer replies, "Homer Simpson, smiling politely." It’s akin to someone executing a get-rich-quick scheme inspired by a just-okay episode like "Lard of the Dance." Oh wait, that actually happened too.

The Simpsons is often credited with predicting the future, but that’s less impressive when people go out of their way to make the show’s portrayals come true. Sure, it was uncanny when Trump became president after a 2000 episode predicted it, but it’s not as though Trump ran because of The Simpsons—we hope.

In the 1990s, The Simpsons reached cultural dominance, only to suddenly decline in quality. Unlike shows that get canceled at their peak like Firefly or Arrested Development, many fans spent years hoping it would return to its former glory. Opinions vary on when the show "got bad" (the correct answer is season nine, episode 11, "All Singing, All Dancing"), with some die-hards still defending later seasons out of nostalgia.

This Cypress Hill collab seems like a signal that it’s time to let go—not just of The Simpsons, but of our general addiction to nostalgia. Not every piece of entertainment needs to reference the past. We’re allowed to—and should—create new content. Cultural stagnation looms because so many popular movies and TV shows are based on decades-old properties. That creative well is drying, if it hasn’t already.

Maybe it’s better to leave memories as memories. The Simpsons did great things, but it’s old now, and, well, old things often lose their utility.

That was a The Simpsons reference. Sorry.

Source: Various